Sarah Blasko @ The Powerhouse

Sarah can surely silence an audience

There are not many artists whose voices have the power to completely silence an audience. Even less so, ones who can perform solo, and unaccompanied. Sarah Blasko is one of those artists. Despite her almost 15 year long 'solo' career, this was the first tour she was performing completely solo - with just her and the piano, rather than her usual elaborate band set-ups. 

Perth singer-songwriter Cameron Avery (also known from The Growls, Tame Impala and Pond), opened the night, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear a voice more reminiscent of Nick Cave, rather than the psychedelic rock his other outfits usually offer. His small keyboard, guitar and vocal setup provided the perfect backing for his depressing ballads and existentialist sense of humor. His latest single C'est Toi was a highlight, with his voice seamlessly switching between falsetto and baritone, sending chills down my spine. 

Soon his set was over and the room stayed dim, for it was only a short interval before Blasko was due to come on stage. Opening with an acapella rendition of Down On Love, she stunned the audience into submission with the way her voice eerily echoed through the walls of the venue. Dressed in a black and white dress, with elaborate, flowy sleeves, her shadow which was magnified on the brick wall added to the haunting aspect, creating an almost ethereal atmosphere. 

Blasko was rather like Avery in the sense of the odd combination of depressing, beautiful songs and blunt humour. She broke up her set with little tidbits of chit chat that added to the performance. I Awake and I Wanna Be Your Man sounded totally different just played solo, and she showed her multi-instrumental mastery by playing a few songs on the ukulele and guitar - Woman By The Well brought an unexpected tear to my eye. She also played a few brand new songs intermittently, which was a nice surprise. 

The show came to a close far too early, with a new song My Phantom Heartbeat, closing the night. However, like always, she returned to play a three song encore of classic Sarah Blasko songs - All I Want, Flame Trees and Perfect Now - which enticed the pesky tear to return to my eye before the audience gave her the standing ovation she truly deserved. A wonderful show by a wonderful woman. 

Olivia Shoesmith

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